ANN ARBOR, MI – Perry Porikos, the Greek immigrant owner of The Brown Jug and Backroom Pizza in Ann Arbor, is suing the Ohio-based Cincinnati Insurance Company for business losses due to the coronavirus, MLive.com reported on November 24.
The lawyer for the bar and restaurant, Larry Buckfire, said that a complaint was filed in federal court “alleging the Cincinnati Insurance Company is denying a claim for business interruption and property damage,” MLive reported.
Porikos arrived in the U.S. more than four decades ago as a 20-year-old soccer player for the Wolverines and worked as a part-time dishwasher at the restaurant which he now owns.
The complaint, which was filed November 9 in the U.S. District Court, notes that the policy would cover lost income and personal property, which the insurance company is refusing to do, MLive reported, adding that “The Brown Jug and Backroom Pizza, located at 1204 S University Ave. and 605 Church St., is claiming more than $75,000 in losses, according to the filing.”
The restaurant “purchased a commercial property insurance policy, which was supposed to protect the business from losses in a 12-month period between Sept. 30, 2019 through Sept. 30, 2020 for losses up to $655,000, according to the complaint,” MLive reported, adding that “the COVID-19 pandemic and state-ordered closures and restrictions interrupted business operations and caused ‘physical loss’ of their property, but the insurance company ‘refused to honor its promise’ to protect them, the owner alleges in the complaint.”
Buckfire said that “some business insurance policies have infectious disease exclusions, however, that’s not the case with this particular policy,” MLive reported.
“For the business interruptions like these, some of the policies have language in them [that] you have to show some type of physical damage to the property in order to make a claim. Some of them are arguing there’s not damage to the property, therefore, you’re excluded. Our arguments are there’s likely some type of physical contamination on the premise where people are going in a high-COVID area,” Buckfire said, adding the losses continue with the state-ordered closures, MLive reported.
In October, the establishment “was identified as a possible COVID-19 exposure site through the Washtenaw County Health Department,” MLive reported, noting that “the suit claims that damages are a result of lost revenues due to the pandemic, closures of businesses, and more recently, more restrictions for indoor dining.”
“The number of people not eating there on football Saturdays, people traveling in town… and the number of students and faculty on campus is so low,” hinders business, Buckfire said, MLive reported.
The insurance company did not comment directly on the situation, pointing out that the lawsuit is pending litigation, MLive reported.
“We respect the rights of all parties to have their issues heard and resolved in a court of law. For that reason, we do not comment on pending litigation. Cincinnati Insurance remains committed to doing our part to support the families and businesses in our agents’ communities, helping them to proactively manage risks and promptly paying covered claims,” according to a statement from Cincinnati Insurance, MLive reported.
Bar and restaurant owner Perry Porikos had not responded to requests for comment at press time.